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India denies reports of helping Rajapaksa flee Lanka

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International

oi-Prakash KL

| Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 8:47 [IST]

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Colombo, July 13: India has denied the reports of helping Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flee his country while reiterating that it will support the people of the trouble-hit island nation.

"High Commission categorically denies baseless and speculative media reports that India facilitated the recent reported travel of @gotabayar @Realbrajapaksa out of Sri Lanka," High Commission of India in Colombo said in a tweet.

Rajapaksa flee Lanka Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

It reiterated that India will continue to support the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established democratic institutions and the constitutional framework.

Sri Lanka's embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has flown out of the island nation on Wednesday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister's office confirmed.

He took off from the country for the Maldives on an Antonov-32 military aircraft with his wife and a bodyguard who were among four passengers on board, the media reports stated citing immigration sources.

"Sri Lankan President, the first lady along with two bodyguards were subjected to full approval by Ministry of Defense for immigration, customs and other laws to fly to the Maldives. Air Force aircraft was provided to them in the early morning of July 13," Sri Lankan Air Force Media Director said in a statement.

As per the latest reports, Rajapaksa landed at the Velana International Airport in the Maldives early Wednesday, Xinhua reported citing the Maldivian media.

Moments before a crowd stormed the president's residence on July 9, Rajapaksa was evacuated from the President's House in Fort by the security forces and was protected on a naval vessel within the territorial waters of the country for security reasons.

Reports had claimed that before he escaped to the Maldives, he had tried to travel to Dubai, but it did not happen after a humiliating standoff with the airport immigration.

After missing four flights to Dubai, Rajapaksa and his wife had stayed at a military base next to the main Bandaranaike International airport.

Nonetheless, the President has signed his resignation dated July 11 and it will be handed over to the Speaker of the Parliament on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also stepped down from his posts amid the ongoing protests, saying that he took the decision to ensure the continuation of the government and the safety of all the citizens.

Sri Lanka is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.

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